Master Gardener 1995 – 2013
Fred Perkins is the founder and first president of the Big Country Master Gardener Association. In 1994, Fred went to the County Extension Agent and lobbied for approval to begin a Master Gardener program in Taylor County. Fred was given the green light as long as a minimum of 10 people were interested. In May of 1995 the charter class contained 22 people and the Big Country Master Gardeners Association was founded.
Fred embodies the mission of the Texas Master Gardener Program. The success of today’s program is directly attributable to Fred’s enthusiasm and dedication to the program. Fred’s accomplishments are numerous and well documented.
- Fred served as first President of the Big Country Master Gardener Association from 1995-1997. He also served as President from 2000-2001 and again from 2005-2006.
- He manned the County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office hotline for 17 years responding to thousands of horticultural inquires.
- He has presented over 200 lectures and programs for garden and civic organizations from all over the Big Country.
- Fred was instrumental in planning, installing and maintaining the demonstration gardens located at the Taylor County Extension Office.
- He completed Earthkind, Vegetable, Rainwater Harvesting and Greenhouse Specialist Trainings and served as leader in the community in those subject matters.
- He was active in the planning of home landscapes for the Habitat for Humanity.
- Fred planned and installed landscape at County Courthouse by request of Commissioners’ Court
- He is a staple volunteer for the annual Food and Fiber field days presenting horticultural information to local 4th graders.
- He also is a major contributor with the Kids & Kows & More educational program that presents gardening information the local Abilene 4th grade students.
- Fred has contributed limitless hours to the annual Home and Garden Show disseminating Texas A&M AgriLife Extension information to the public.
- He has graciously volunteered numerous times to support horticulture activities at the West Texas Fair and Rodeo and Planet Agriculture.
- He has led the vegetable sessions during Master Gardener Trainings for 12 years.
- Fred worked with the Abilene Zoo in the Native Plant Area from 1995-1997.
- He was instrumental in Abilene hosting the 2001 State Conference where he served as chairman of the planning committee.
- He did a weekly television horticulture spot on KTAB for several years.
- Fred wrote a weekly horticulture column in the Abilene Reporter News for three years.
- He was the program director for the first Junior Master Gardener program, the Dirty Worms.
- He has served on the Extension Pecan Task Force and organized and implemented the Abilene Area Pecan Show.
Fred has been recognized many times over the years for his superior service and dedication to the Texas Master Gardener program. He has served as a mentor and role model to many Master Gardeners and Interns over the years. His most notable awards he has received include:
- Fred was the first Master Gardener to receive Master Gardener of the Year award (Taylor County)
- He was selected Extension Cooperator of the Year in 1996 by the Taylor County Extension Leadership Advisory Board
- He received the State Outstanding Personal Achievement Award in 1997
- Fred received the 4-H Meritorious Service Award in 1997
- He received the Dedicated Service Award in 1998 as President of the Big Country Association.
- He was awarded the Texas JMG Educator of the Year award in 2001.
- Fred received the District 7 4-H Silver Clover Award in 2008
- In 2008, The Big Country Master Gardeners and the Taylor County Extension Office bestowed him with a Lifetime Membership to the Taylor County Master Gardeners.
- He was recognized for obtaining more than 10,000 recorded volunteer hours in the Big Country Master Gardener Program in 2011.
- In 2013 the honor of Texas Master Gardener Emeritus was given to Fred for his time, dedication and service to the Taylor County Master Gardener Program.
To say that Fred Perkins exceeds the expectations of a Texas Master Gardener would be an understatement. As a Big Country Master Gardener, Fred has provided volunteer services for AgriLife Extension for over 17 years. However, his service to the people living in the Big Country has far exceeded the requirements of his Master Gardener title.
If attitude makes the difference between getting tasks done and making them fun, Fred is the epitome of great attitude. He inspires everyone around him with his dedication and caring. It is for all these reasons Fred Perkins is more than qualified and deserving of Emeritus status.